Chocolate Milk And Brandy / June 2021 

Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today. 

Music For Dreams have been sonically saluting the sunset for longer than most. More than any other label, arguably anyone else, they and the artists they have supported and nurtured – such as Phil Mison`s Cantoma – understand, and continue to keep Jose`s musical legacy alive. With vinyl production hold ups forcing folks to focus on digital releases, MFD, for sure haven’t let lockdowns slow them down. Recently they’ve put out at least 4 pieces of music that deserve flagging, the grabbing of your attention. 

I`m a huge fan of Jacob Gurevitch`s Spanish guitar-based work, and his new track, Melancolía, a collaboration with Mallorcan chanteuse / poet, Concha Buika, doesn’t disappoint. Together, here, they spin a slow twilight serenade, a song to share with a loved one as the day draws to a close. Accompanied by accordion, and Jacob`s fleet fingers, the longing is palpable, with perhaps a touch of regret. Remembering tough times, while raising a glass to the good. 

New artist, Laudness, debuts with Boat To Utklippan – a short symphony in 2 parts, of seabirds, strummed strings, and sweet harmonies, with spine-tingling sequences showering the second half. 

Voice Of Art are an MFD supergroup – featuring DJ Divo, OliO, and Troel`s Hammer, while being helmed by label boss, Kenneth Bager. What’s Remembered Lives is dedicated to former member, Jacob Andersen of Bongo Entp., who sadly passed away. Opening with monumentally, moving classical orchestration – reminiscent of Ennio Morricone`s Chi Mai, midway though it appropriately picks up some percussion, as keys cascade like spring rain. 

The dynamic duo of Eivissenc Willie Graff and New Yorker Darren Eboli recently had the cool tune, Cocktails With Cecil, included in the label-sampling Copenhagen 2021 Vol. 1 compilation. However, they’ve since expanded on this, coupling its bumping, blue-horned bossa, finger-snapping samba, with three additional cuts, which are now forthcoming – in July – under the title Tribeca Tapes 4. Full review to follow….

Not “true born” but definite White Isle veterans, Chico Coco and Phil Cooper, both also have fresh fair on offer that may well take your fancy. Phil has licensed the Gypsohilia E.P. from Lova, for NuNorthern Soul. The two having met at Ibiza`s Hostel La Torre, where the Verona-based musician handed Phil a demo – while he was DJing – who then slotted it straight into his set. The trio of tracks begins with the slowly building Esperanza – whose fat, fusion, synth brings a tropical vibe. The balearic boogie of Cecilia rings with Johnny Marr Rickenbacker jangle, while the guitar overdubs on Echoes Of Memories doff their cap more toward Robert Smith – raising a wall of submerged spacerock sound, off-set by hallelujah church handclaps. 

Chris teams up with Antonio Prosper for the track, For All Our Friends In Other Places. Composed to celebrate those either lost, or simply absent, riding live bass and bongos, its synthetic sighs are characterized by striking keys – which resemble a strung-out, Santana-esque, Stratocaster solo. This can be purchased alone, or as part of a package, that collects a further quartet of classics from Chris` back catalogue. Paired with Luca Averna, Chris produces the head-nodding, hypnotic, house-tempo`d skank of Walearic Dub – quite possibly named in honour of Tokyo record store, Coconuts Disk. The two of them then turn in Mare – stuffed with Spanish guitar and sampled surf, and bumped by a Deee-lite-ful, Deee-licious, (What Is) loved-up, bottom heavy, chug. Nick & Samantha`s Twilight Secrets is 9 and half minutes of gentle congas and chimes, muted fanfares, and children’s laughter. The pièce de résistance though is the Reminiscent Drive remix of Coco, Steel & Lovebomb`s The Sunset. I paid a pretty penny for a somewhat crackly second-hand copy back in the day. Sunshine-strobed, and nostalgia-inducing, its ethereal exclamations exuding the slightly sad, melancholic, feel of a faded holiday photograph. 

There’s some jazz juice from L.A.`s Phi-Psonics – with Second Thoughts supplying two 45s taken from the sessions for last year`s Cradle LP. The first flips the oriental-toned, spiritually-soaring, Still Dancing, with the modal Middle Eastern mystery of The Searcher – which incidentally segues pretty seamlessly with the staccato strings of Floating Points / Pharoah Sanders` Promises. In both cases, Seth Ford-Young`s contrabass bringing the gift of the groove, and Sylvain Carlton’s tenor sax providing the hook. Then Mama joins Drum Talk. To describe this latter coupling as “mellow” isn’t quite correct, but the pairing is more meditative, with Mitchell Yoshida`s Wurlitzer taking centre stage. Josh Collazo`s drums brushed, his cymbals slowly crashing like temple gongs. 

Aloha Got Soul`s Reggae off-shoot, Roots Run Deep, represent with a some sunset lovers rock from Hawaiian vocalist, Kapena Mokiao. Dub Master Khan then sheds the saccharine inherent in the genre, by concentrating on just the rhythm and the bass, on the dynamite Dubber`s Chune. Creating a wonderful whirlwind of tape effects and fragmented fretwork.

Finally, there are 3 “house-ier” bits. Musclecars are Brooklynites Brandon Weems and Craig Handfield – responsible for the local Coloring Lessons parties. Toucan Sounds have seen to it that a selection of sounds from their Street Dreams E.P. have been reworked and remixed. She Raised Us In Sunset Park partners acoustic strumming and picking with Brazilian cuica squeak. Its beat a bit broken, the tune also boasts timbales, Tijuana trumpet and a big, big, electric blues riff. London’s K15 mix Sol`s sexy Spanish whispers with rainforest fauna and whip smart snares. Tokyo`s terrific Dazzle Drums however take the (disco) biscuit. Their downtempo, sub-boom bolstered, shake of Sun Track I is tribal and tropical – perfectly percolating – piano pirouetting – painting a peaceful, beautiful, beach at dawn. 

Fellow Brooklynites, Razor-N-Tape Reserve have remixed Brazil’s BaianaSystem, where Jimpster orchestrates an organic afro groove – all cowbells, congas and handclaps – topped off by bright bass, highlife flickers, and uplifting group chant and song. His dub bumps the BPMs from 115 to 120, reinforcing the low-end, while putting the emphasis on jiving jazz-funk keys. The echoed vocals making way for intricate instrument interplay. Label boss Jkriv joins Diogo Strausz for a darker, dubbier, more blatantly electronic, slightly acidic, affair. That sweet choral chorus though still shines like a sonic sun. Their dub also turns the tempo up a tad. 

Rasmus Faber and David Harks` Never Enough is a Top Of The Pops worthy production. Its blue-eyed phrasing had me thinking of Jesse Ware’s Running. An irresistible piano dominates its instrumental form. The playing packing the promise of better, brighter, days, before going full-on gospel for the breakdown. Max Essa`s expert extension bigs-up the slapped boogie bass-line – adding whistling keys that compete with congas, thunder cracks, and a clipped jazz axe. Saving a snatch of that piano for the closing coda. All being well, this should be a summer / festival anthem – catchy enough for normal / regular folks, and the knob-twiddling too good not to get a nod from the heads. 

Phi-Psonics – Drum Talk – Second Thoughts
Gianni Brezzo – I Told You – Into The Light
Chris Coco & Antonio Prosper – For All Our Friends In Other Places
Laudness – Boat To Utklippan – Music For Dreams
Voice Of Art – What’s Remembered Lives (for Jacob A) – Music For Dreams
MLO – Projections Of The Living – Music From Memory
Willie Graff & Darren Eboli – Cocktails With Cecil – Music For Dreams
Leisure Dub – Weekend Waiting (Jeep Beat Mix) – Lexx Music
LX72 – Pl`ayers (Lexx Remix) – Lexx Music
Musclecars featuring Tiff Oritz – Sun Track (Dazzle Drums Remix) – Toucan Sounds
Attitude – Lattitude (Mato Dub) – Chuwanaga
Kapena Mokiao – Dubbers Dub – Roots Run Deep
Rockers Hi-Fi – Sexy Selector – Seven Hills
Alex Kassian – Spirit Of Eden – Pinchy & Friends
Joe Morris – Do You Believe In Magic (Magic Sunrise) – Shades Of Sound
James Bright & Zoe Devlin Love – Raise (Afterlife Remix) – Sveva Music
Sun Palace – Rude Movements (Francois K SATS Dub) – BBE
Lova – Esperanza – NuNorthern Soul 
LX72 – Rooty Call (Midnight Tenderness Dub) – Lexxmusic
Rudys Midnight Machine – Shifting Sands – Faze Action Records
Rasmus Faber & David Harks – Never Enough (mixes) – Paper
BAIANASYSTEM – Água (Jimpster Remix)

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